Saturday, August 16, 2014

Five for Saturday!

Happy Five for Friday on Saturday!
Late again!

I just returned from a family rafting trip on the Rogue River in Southern Oregon. It was the easily the best thing I did all summer. My husband runs a rafting company and I can go rafting whenever he invites me. I can't believe that I don't go every single time. It was wonderful.

We saw otter playing on the beach, an osprey with a fish being chased by a bald eagle, bear, turtles, ducks, huge salmon and snakes. We swam rapids, jumped off rocks and watched for falling stars. I had forgotten how beautiful the river sounds at night when you fall asleep and it's glassy surface right before a rapid. It felt great to just watch the river and be around the people that really matter, to be reminded of what is truly important. To slow down.

And we did this all with our friends and family(except for my youngest son, who was truly missed). We had 6 year old twins and a 7 year old brother along. Kids make everything more magical!

I'm recharged and ready to go! Here comes another year of kindergarten!

Most teachers are silly and love to ham it up with a really good story. I'm always on the lookout for stories that I can story tell with props. I encourage you to try this, the kids will love it and it's a fun way to teach story elements.
One of my favorite stories is The Little Red House with NoDoors, No Windows and a Star Inside. This was shown to me at a workshop years ago.
First, find the story and memorize it! I hope the author will forgive me but I added a little girl to the story for fun. I've been known to embellish quite a bit, too.
Next, gather your props.
I use a baseball cap for the boy,
an apron for the mom ( I just happen to have a few aprons),
 glasses and a shawl for granny (wear the glasses low on your nose and use a granny voice),
a bow for the little girl (simply hold this at the top of your head),
 and a straw hat for the farmer,
Hide the apple and knife in a paper bag and place behind you.

You're ready to go!
I guarantee you'll have their attention.
Now, tell the story but switch the hats whenever you change characters. You'll be moving fast and the kids will be enthralled!
Finally, take the apple out of the bag and ask them if it is red, without doors or windows and then...cut the apple and show the star! They think it's magic.
Now, it's time for a little sneaky teaching!
Ask about title, characters, setting, problem, solution, sequence with pictures (in the apron pockets) beginning, middle and end!
Let them wear the hats and act out the story (beware of lice).
I've made a cut and paste page to sequence the story to end the lesson.
It's also fun to send the story home and encourage your kids to retell the story to their parents (with supervision on the apple cutting).

This year I'm going to try storytelling Mrs. Spitzer's Garden.

Fortunately, or unfortunately, I look a lot like Mrs. Spitzer. This was pointed out to me by one of my five year old brutally honest friends. I'm not sure I'm thrilled with the comparison as I think I'm still 27 years old and this brings reality to a whole new level... I read the book every year on the first day and my bulletin board is centered around it. This  picture is from a few years back because this year's bulletin board is still under construction. We add sunflowers with their pictures in the middle.

I made a me version of Mrs. Spitzer last year.

I'm thinking of using our sunflower faces for props.
I'll teach them the song "Inch by Inch"to go along with it!
I'll let you know if it works!

On Monday I posted about my Meet 'N Greet meeting. I place these little shoes on the tables with a poem that asks them to work on writing their name and tying their shoes. 

We have a little handwriting lesson with the parents so that they teach their children how to write their names correctly.  
I also take a minute to talk about pencil grip and how to correct it gently. I made these pencil pals to make it a little more fun! It's just a pom pom with googly eyes attached with a hot glue gun.
For children with an incorrect grip, simply have them grasp it in their hand while they're holding their pencil. It forces them to hold it with their ring and pinky finger and corrects their grip.

Calendar is up and WAY too busy! I stood back, looked at it and took half of it down. We start with a simple version and work our way up to this. What was I thinking?

One of my favorite things about this board is my mental health calendar activities. They're posters that give a suggestion for something silly to do each day. I got them in 1978 while I was still in college!! Good thinking Mrs. Welchie!!

I'm working on our focus board and can't get this gal to look like she's holding binoculars. Any ideas?

We've been working on making a tutu apron. We'll get there but it's lots of trial and error and I'd love your opinion!
Here's my friend in the second version. You can't see the plastic pockets :

Happy weekend!
I'm off to work in my classroom. What a mess.
I love this quote:
Creativity Is Messy [Printable Chalkboard Quote]
I'm planning on posting songs to go with the apron. My computer tech (aka my husband) is busy rafting and can't help me quite yet! Coming soon!


  1. I loved your post. I almost felt like I was on that rafting trip! It sounds just perfect- and just exactly like what you needed this summer! I love all of your ideas- and that pencil pal is awesome! Have a wonderful rest of the weekend! XO

  2. Oh, Carolyn, thank goodness for your comments. It'd be pretty lonely here without you stopping by. Hugs and kisses!

  3. Sandy,

    That rafting trip looks amazing!!! I'm so jealous! We go back to school Monday and the kids start Sept. 2. I can't believe the summer is over!! I LOVE that you leave those shoes to practice names and tying shoes! What a great idea!!!

    Have a happy school year! :)
    A Sunny Day in First Grade